Iheanacho seals FA Cup win with historic VAR goal

Leicester City 2:0 Fleetwood Town

1718 fleetwood home c

Kelechi Iheanacho scored twice to ease Leicester past Fleetwood in the FA Cup Third Round replay on Tuesday night, his second strike making history as the first ‘VAR goal’ in English football…

Having been matched by Fleetwood ten days previously, Claude Puel fielded a slightly stronger side, with Iborra and Silva partnered in midfield, Mahrez made captain, and Vardy on the bench.
On a cold night, the KPS was just over half full, with the East Stand closed.
After an attacking spell for the League One side right from the kick-off, City then got a grip on the game and had a huge share of the possession. But they struggled to create chances against a deep-lying and dogged Fleetwood defence.
It was Fleetwood who looked more threatening on their occasional breaks upfield,  Hiwula went down in the area under a challenge from Amartey but appeals weren’t considered for VAR, and then McAleny sent a shot straight at Jakupovic.
Two minutes later McAleny forced a good save from Jakupovic as Fleetwood again caught City on the break.
City went close in the 33rd minute when Mahrez curled a 25 yard free-kick inches wide of the left hand post.
Benalouane then put in a heavy challenge on Hiwula near the technical area and was lucky only to see a yellow.
Another Fleetwood charge upfield then saw Dempsey firing off a shot that looked to be dipping under the bar before Jakupovic tipped it over.
But, two minutes before the break this tie finally offered up a goal.
A clever ball from Slimani sent Iheanacho through and his composed finish beat Neal to put City ahead with their first shot on target.

1718 fleetwood home d

There were no changes for either side for the second half and City should have doubled their lead after four minutes. Iheanacho teed up Slimani, but his first time effort skewed wide from close in.
Soon after this Slimani was substituted for Albrighton, and didn’t look too happy about it.
City had the ball in the net in the 63rd minute when Mahrez played Gray down the right and he cut back for Iheanacho to finish, but the ball had gone over the goal-line before Gray reached it. Although Jon Moss had his finger to his ear, VAR intervention was not necessary.
Another ‘earpiece moment’ followed when Iborra protested that he had been held back in the area while trying to reach an Albrighton free-kick, but again play continued without outside interference.
However, we finally saw VAR kick-in in the 77th minute.
Mahrez slipped a ball through to Iheanacho, who dinked the ball over Neal for a fine finish, but celebrations were halted by the linesman’s flag for offside.
It looked very close and we had a long delay while Jon Moss had a chat with the VAR.

1718 fleetwood home a

With the tension building, Moss eventually picked the ball up and headed for the halfway line – goal. The delayed celebrations felt a bit bizarre and we had witnessed a piece of football history. And perhaps another step towards robots taking over the world.

1718 fleetwood home b

Fleetwood were beaten now, and the remainder of the game saw City enjoying possession. Puel brought on Vardy and Okazaki for Iheanacho and Mahrez, but City couldn’t add to the scoreline.
Peterborough await in the 4th round, and hopefully a strong City line-up will be able to do the job at the time of asking.

Claude Puel was happy with Iheanacho’s performance: “Kelechi showed a good attitude, worked hard for his teammates and got between the lines. His first goal showed a lot of quality and the second was a fantastic move between him and Mahrez.”

Leicester: Jakupovic, Amartey, Dragovic, Benalouane, Fuchs, Mahrez (Vardy 81), Silva, Iborra, Gray, Iheanacho (Okazaki 81), Slimani (Albrighton 56).
Substitutes: Hamer, Maguire, Ndidi, Barnes.
Fleetwood: Neal, Jones, Pond, Bolger, Bell, Hunter, Glendon, Schwabl (Grant 72), Dempsey, McAleny (Burns 65), Hiwula-Mayifuila (Cole 65).
Substitutes: Coyle, Cairns, Sowerby, Cargill.
Referee: J Moss. Attendance: 17,237.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber

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Leicester have to settle for a point at Chelsea

Chelsea 0:0 Leicester City 

1718 chelsea away

City earned a point at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, but were the much the better side until Ben Chilwell’s dismissal…

Claude Puel made seven changes to the side that drew at Fleetwood, with Vardy returning from injury, but Silva left out of the squad.
Chelsea had a couple of early attacking moves, with shots from Kanté and Moses being blocked, but then City got a grip on the game and didn’t let go.
In the 7th minute a great run by Chilwell saw him get in behind the Chelsea defence on the left and tee up Okazaki at the near post, but he sent his shot on the stretch wide.
A minute later Chilwell delivered another ball from the left, but Vardy’s attempted flick found the side-netting.
City were all over the Champions at this point and Vardy, sent through by James, then fired a low drive across Courtois that went narrowly wide.
Moments later Vardy fired in a cross for Okazaki at the near post but his touch was blocked. From the resulting corner the ball bounced up for Ndidi, but his header was tipped away by Courtois, James’ follow-up shot being charged down by Rüdiger.
Chelsea then broke forward and Schmeichel had his palms stung by a Fàbregas shot, but City were soon pushing forward again. An Albrighton cross from the left found Mahrez in space on the edge of the area, but he got his shot all wrong and sent the ball into the top tier.
A fine ball from Mahrez then sent Vardy through, but his miscued shot went well wide of the right hand post.
The home side were forced into a change after 32 minutes when Cahill limped off to be replaced by Christensen.
Morata then wriggled past a challenge on the goal-line, but his shot was blocked by Schmeichel at the near post.
Mahrez was having a superb game and ghosted round Rüdiger down the right before firing a low shot across the goalmouth, but no black shirts were in the six yard box.
Okazaki had a shot on the turn blocked, before Albrighton latched onto the loose ball and fired it wide of the left hand post.
As half-time approached Fàbregas saw his shot tipped over by Schmeichel.
0-0 at the break, and after a superb display you wondered if a stat of 12 shots (only one on target) would come back to haunt City later in the game.

However, the second half continued in much the same vein, with City pressing forward and Chelsea looking disjointed.
City earned a couple of early free-kicks, but James had a shot blocked from Mahrez’s delivery, and Albrighton sent the second one drifting wide.
There were big shouts for a penalty in the 54th minute when Mahrez dribbled through the Chelsea defence before tumbling over a Christensen challenge, but the ref was right to wave play on.
Mahrez was loudly booed as he cut in from the right and loosed a shot on goal that struck Christensen and span narrowly wide of the right hand post.
There was more booing from a frustrated home corwd when Hazard was replaced by Pedro in the 58th minute.
The game had a more physical edge now and Kanté got an overdue yellow, before Okazaki and Chilwell followed him into the book.
Sadly for Chilwell, and for an intriguing game, he received another yellow just five minutes later. It was unfortunate, with Chilwell only having eyes for the ball, but Moses arrived on the scene and was caught in the shin by a raised foot.
This changed the pattern of the game, with Fuchs brought on for Okazaki and City now defending a point. But this they did very well.
Schmeichel fielded a low shot from Willian, and then Bakayoko sent a shot well wide.
In the final ten minutes Puel brought Gray on for Vardy and then Iborra for the injured James.
City defended doggedly, frustrating the Champions, and the only nervy moment came in time added on when Chelsea were award a free-kick 25 yards out. Alonso’s well struck effort was heading for the bottom right hand corner, but Schmeichel got down to it well and tipped it behind.
Moses then attempted a shot that was nearer the corner flag than the goal, and City had earned a rare point at Stamford Bridge.
It had been a fine performance that could have seen a win, but a point away at Chelsea was most welcome.

Claude Puel commented: “Of course it’s a good reward after playing 10 against 11 at the end. But we deserved the point and perhaps more with all the chances we had. In the first half it was crazy not to find the possibility to score. They have had some opportunities but with all the good moves we make on the pitch, with quality and good chances…It’s a little disappointment because we had a lot of chances without finding the clinical edge, but it’s good for the confidence.”

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (Christensen 33), Rüdiger, Moses, Fàbregas (Willian 58), Kanté, Bakayoko, Alonso, Hazard (Pedro 58), Morata.
Substitutes: Caballero, ZappacostaBatshuayiDavid Luiz.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Amartey, Dragovic, Maguire, Chilwell, Mahrez, Ndidi, James (Iborra 90), Albrighton, Okazaki (Fuchs 73), Vardy (Gray 82).
Substitutes: Iheanacho, Hamer, Slimani, Benalouane.
Referee: M Jones. Attendance: 41,552.

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Leicester outplayed by Fleetwood but scrape a replay

Fleetwood Town 0:0 Leicester City

1718 fleetwood away fac

City clung on to a place in the 4th round draw by the width of a post after a very poor performance at Fleetwood on Saturday afternoon…

Claude Puel made eight changes to his side for this FA Cup tie against League One opposition, with Jakupovic, Silva and Barnes making their full debuts. But the pre-match media focus on Jamie Vardy returning to his former club was snuffed out by injury.
This was a Leicester side that had never played together before, and it showed.
In a game illuminated by a low, blinding winter sun they never got into their stride.
The first chance to emerge from a frantic midfield scrap saw Gray delivering a free-kick to Slimani at the far post, but his unconvincing touch drifted wide.
There was a close call for City in the 9th minute when Dragovic played a ball back to Jakupovic without looking, sending the keeper scrambling to tip it round the post.
The ref awarded a corner, rather than a free-kick, but Bolger missed the target with his header.
Hunter then tried his luck from 25 yards, but his shot went straight at Jakupovic.
Fleetwood were forced into a change after a quarter of an hour, Pond replacing the injured Eastham, but this didn’t disrupt their rhythm and Hunter fired in another shot, which didn’t trouble the City keeper.
In the 22nd minute Gray raced down the left, but had his cross blocked. King met Gray’s flag-kick with a near post header, but sent it well over from 6 yards.
City were enjoying more possession now, but were being given no space or time by the home side and were restricted to a couple of chances: Gray having an angled shot deflected and Barnes slicing a volley high and wide.
There was a moment of dread when Silva stayed down after a challenge with Schwabl, but he recovered after treatment. The first half limped to a conclusion as the ref blew time on a poor spectacle.

The second half continued in much the same vein with more hectic midfield action, until Fleetwood went close in the 55th minute. Hunter raced down the left, leaving Amartey in his wake and getting round Dragovic before firing in a low cross which Benalouane chested narrowly past the left hand post.
Two minutes later Claude Puel made a double change with Barnes and Silva replaced by Albrighton and Okazaki, but even those two couldn’t improve matters.
Fleetwood were in charge now and forced a series of corners, Bolger heading wide when unmarked and Schwabl making good contact with an 18 yarder that went straight at  Jakupovic.
City’s next chance came in the 67th minute when Gray beat Coyle down the left and swung over a cross to the far post, but it had already gone out of play when Slimani put it into the side-netting.
King then sent a shot woefully wide when well-placed, before Puel brought Iheanacho on for Slimani.
Fleetwood pressed forward in the last ten minutes, winning a series of corners and free-kicks, as the home crowd increased the volume, but Bolger sent two more headers well off-target.
As the game entered time-added-on, Fleetwood went within inches of winning the tie.
Hunter’s low shot took a deflection off Benalouane and hit the foot of the right-hand post, before bouncing off Jakupovic and back onto the post where the keeper gathered it gratefully.

No one could have begrudged Fleetwood a late winner, but City lived to fight another day. The travelling fans were not impressed with what they had seen and there were boos at the final whistle.
Claude Puel commented: “I picked a team that can win the game, knowing the fitness levels of my players after four games in 10 days. I think there is no excuse about this. We have had a good team on the pitch but it was not enough from the play.” 

Fleetwood: Neal, Coyle, Bolger, Eastham (Pond 15), Bell, Glendon, Schwabl, Dempsey, Burns (McAleny 69), Cole, Hunter.
Substitutes: Hiwula-Mayifuila, Jones, Cairns, Biggins, Sowerby.
Leicester: Jakupovic, Amartey, Dragovic, Benalouane, Chilwell, Adrien Silva (Okazaki 57), King, James, Gray, Slimani (Iheanacho 80), Barnes (Albrighton 57).
Substitutes: Hamer, Maguire, Ndidi, Choudhury.
Referee: S Hooper. Attendance: 5,001.

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Leicester see off Terriers in a game of two halves

Leicester City 3:0 Huddersfield Town

Leicester City v Huddersfield Town - Premier League

After a poor first half at the KPS on New Year’s Day, City produced a fine display after the break to brush Huddersfield aside, with goals from Mahrez, Slimani and Albrighton…

There were a few surprises when Claude Puel’s squad was announced, with James in for Iborra, Slimani replacing the injured Vardy, and a place for the long-awaited Adrien Silva on the bench, with the FA giving him special clearance after his four month exile.
Although City pressed forward in the early stages of the game, it was Huddersfield who had the first shot on goal when Lolley struck a 25 yarder straight at Schmeichel.
City’s first chance came in the 8th minute when Fuchs whipped in a cross from the left and Slimani’s header forced Lössl to tip the ball over the bar, but the linesman’s flag was raised for offside.
Referee Graham Scott had the travelling Town fans up in arms in the 20th minute when Williams broke through the middle and was halted by a clumsy challenge from Maguire on the edge of the area. Williams did, however, go down a little too easily and the ref waved play on.
In the 25th minute Morgan slid into an ungainly and unecessary tackle on Mounie on the halfway line and appeared to pick up a groin injury.
Although he tried to carry on for a couple of minutes the City captain had to limp off, replaced by Dragovic.

Leicester City v Huddersfield Town - Premier League

It was a poor game by this stage, summed up when the ball fell for Ndidi after a goalmouth scramble but he sliced his shot well wide.
The tough December schedule had seen plenty of poor games and injuries across the Premier League, and this game wandered to half-time almost without incident.

However, City rallied themselves at the break and produced a far better second half performance.
In the 50th minute Slimani improvised a header to reach an Albrighton cross that was slightly behind him, forcing a save from Lössl.
Two minutes later a moment of inspiration lit up the afternoon as City took the lead.
Albrighton hooked a high ball towards the far post, where Mahrez met it with a superb volley across Lössl and into the net.

Leicester City v Huddersfield Town - Premier League

City had the ball in the net again two minutes later, but Okazaki was judged to have fouled a defender on his way to goal.
City didn’t have long to wait for a second, however. In the 59th minute Mahrez played a defence-splitting pass to send Slimani in on goal. As Lössl advanced swiftly to meet him, Slimani chipped the ball over the keeper and it bounced into an unguarded net.
You could see Slimani’s confidence grow, and soon after his goal he almost set Mahrez up with a back-heel, that struck a defender’s arm.
Claude Puel made a change in the 75th minute, bringing Gray on for Mahrez. The crowd gave him a huge ovation, hopefully not for the last time.
It was all Leicester now, and Ndidi headed against the bar from corner.
In the 86th minute, Puel introduced Adrien Silva to the game in place of James, and the crowd responded with something close to hysteria with his every neat pass, and ball-winning challenge being cheered to the rafters.

Leicester City v Huddersfield Town - Premier League

City got a third in time-added-on when a Gray cross from the right deflected off a defenders arm, but the penalty appeals were snuffed out when Albrighton popped up at the far post to guide it home.
It was an outcome that had looked unlikely at half-time, but City had ended their run of four games without a win in style, and Slimani had proved that there is a viable option to Vardy up front.  The cameo played by Silva was a bonus, and even that brief glimpse promised that he could be a huge player for City in 2018.

Happy New Year!

Leicester: Schmeichel, Amartey, Morgan (Dragovic 28), Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez (Gray 77), Ndidi, James (Silva 86), Albrighton, Okazaki, Slimani.
Substitutes: Iheanacho, Hamer, Iborra, Ulloa.
Huddersfield: Lössl, Smith (Depoitre 82), Jorgensen, Schindler, Löwe (Malone 76), Williams, Mooy, van La Parra, Ince, Lolley (Quaner 59), Mounie.
Substitutes: Hogg, Coleman, Cranie, Hadergjonaj.
Referee: G Scott. Attendance: 31,748.

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Salah double overturns Leicester lead at Anfield

Liverpool 2:1 Leicester City

Liverpool v Leicester City, Premier League, 30 December 2017

Although Jamie Vardy put City ahead in the 3rd minute at Anfield on Saturday, two goals from Mohamed Salah ensured victory for Liverpool…

Claude Puel made four changes to the side that lost at Watford with Amartey, Fuchs, Iborra and Gray in for the injured Simpson, flu-victim Chilwell, King and Okazaki.
And they got off to a perfect start, taking a third minute lead. An aimless ball out of defence from Matip was seized on by Iborra and he played Mahrez in down the right. Mahrez squared for Vardy who nipped in ahead of Matip to net from six yards.

Liverpool v Leicester City, Premier League, 30 December 2017

After that bright start, City faced a red tide for most of the first half.
Liverpool were totally dominant and launched one attack after another.
Mané’s cut-back from the left set up Salah ten yards out, but he fired his shot wide of the left hand post.
A through ball from Milner then sent Salah racing down the left channel, but Maguire recovered brilliantly to slide in and block his shot.
Milner then bore down on goal but Schmeichel came out well to smother his effort.
As the pressure continued, Coutinho connected well with a 30 yard shot, but Schmeichel fielded it comfortably.
Firmino was the next to have a crack, from 18 yards, but Scmeichel got down to it well, Amartey almost playing Salah in after making contact with the rebound.
Salah then looked certain to score as he burst through on the right, but he lifted his attempted finish across the face of goal.
Liverpool had the ball in the net after 20 minutes, but Robertson’s cross for Mané found him in an offside position.

Liverpool v Leicester City, Premier League, 30 December 2017

There were appeals for a penalty when Amartey nudged Robertson as he shaped to cross from the byeline, but it would have been harsh.
Firmino then tested Schmeichel with another shot, before the pressure began to ease towards the break.
It had been a dogged defensive display from City who had done very well to survive the onslaught, and they took their lead in with them at half time.

The second half saw the Reds in complete control again, with City unable to retain possession and the equaliser arrived in the 52nd minute. A back-heel from Mané unlocked City’s defence and the irrepressible Salah side-stepped Amartey before firing a low shot past Schmeichel.

Liverpool v Leicester City, Premier League, 30 December 2017

it was all hands to the pump again for City, although a rare attack saw Vardy in on goal, only to be halted by the offside flag.
Coutinho stung Schmeichel’s palms with a fierce shot from inside the area, and then Salah lifted an effort onto the roof of the net.
Ndidi sent a low shot a foot wide of the right hand post, before Mané had another goal disallowed for offside.
City then had a decent attacking spell, before Claude Puel made his first changes, bringing Okazaki and Slimani on for Mahrez and Vardy.
But Liverpool breached City’s backline in the 76th minute and it was that man Salah again. 25 yards out, with his back to goal, the Egyptian rolled round Maguire before advancing on goal and sending a low left-footer just inside the right hand post.
Only now did City get some attacking moves going against a suspect Liverpool defence, and Maguire sent a low ball across the goalmouth but no one was on hand to finish.
2017 had ended with a run of one point from four games.

Claude Puel summed up: “We tried to defend higher up the pitch and play but sometimes in the first half we lost the ball too quickly. It was good when we kept good possession and found space between the lines but we had some rubbish in our play and game without the possibility to keep the ball high up the pitch.”

Liverpool: Karius, Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Robertson, Coutinho (Klavan 89), Can, Milner, Salah (Wijnaldum 83), Firmino, Mané (Oxlade-Chamberlain 72).
Substitutes: Lallana, Mignolet, Solanke, Alexander-Arnold.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Amartey, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez (Okazaki 73), Ndidi, Iborra, Albrighton (James 83), Gray, Vardy (Slimani 74).
Substitutes:Hamer, Musa, Dragovic, Thomas.
Referee: N Swarbrick. Attendance: 53,226.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Leicester undone by set-pieces at Watford

Watford 2:1 Leicester City

1718 watford away a

City’s problems in defending set-pieces led to defeat against Watford at Vicarage Road on Boxing Day….

Claude Puel made four changes to his side, with Chilwell, King and Okazaki in for Fuchs,  Iborra and Gray, while Dragovic was handed a full Premier League debut in place of the injured Simpson.
For most of the first half this line-up had the measure of a Watford side who had lost their last four games. But it was a scrappy and physical game that saw Maguire, Watson and Kabasele all booked within the first 12 minutes.
The first chance to emerge from the midfield morass arrived in the 17th minute when Chilwell delivered a cross from the right, Okazaki rose above his marker to nod an on-target effort, but Gomes reacted well to tip it over the bar.
In the 19th minute Albrighton injured himself in committing a foul, but was able to continue with a bandaged head. Five minutes later he played a fine through ball to send Vardy in on goal, but the England striker sent his shot wide of the left hand post with only Gomes to beat.
Albrighton was then the architect of City’s goal when they took a 37th minute lead, twisting and turning down the left to get room for a cross which saw Mahrez ghosting in at the far post to head home.
This finally prodded Watford into life and they should have equalised two minutes later but, having rounded Schmeichel, Richarlison sent his shot into the side-netting.
However, the Hornets went in level at the break, as City failed to defend a corner.
Cleverley’s flag-kick from the left saw a scramble 8 yards out and the ball fell for former City-loanee Wagué, completely unmarked at the far post, and he had the easy task of slotting the ball home.
In time-added-on Watford almost snatched the lead, but a good move ended with Richarlison smacking his shot against the post.

Watford’s improvement continued into the second half, and City were restricted to counter attacks, with the final ball lacking.
The decisive moment of the game arrived in the 65th minute. A Cleverley free-kick from the right sailed beyond the far post, where Doucouré stretched to make contact on the touchline. The ball was heading across goal, but Schmeichel’s touch sent it over the line.
Claude Puel brought Slimani and Gray on for Okazaki and Dragovic in the 73rd minute.
When this didn’t improve matters he threw another striker on, Ulloa for King with six minutes to go.
City finally applied some proper pressure, but Gomes pulled off a couple of fine saves. From a Mahrez corner the ball sat up for Morgan six yards out, but his shot was blocked at point blank range by the Watford keeper. Moments later, following another corner, he got down well to tip an Ulloa header away.
That was City’s last throw of the dice, and familiar failings – now 13 goals of 30 conceded from set-pieces – had cost them again.
Another stat showed City’s miserable run of Boxing Day games – one win the the last 12 at this level.

Claude Puel commented: “We need to correct this. We need good attention and have to focus on second balls and mark well. When you lose a game like this, it’s a big frustration.”

 Watford: Gomes, Janmaat, Wagué, Kabasele, Zeegelaar, Cleverley, Watson (Prödl 87), Doucouré, Carrillo (Sinclair 90), Richarlison, Pereyra (Okaka 44).
Substitutes: Gray, Holebas, CapoueBachmann.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Dragovic (Gray 73), Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Ndidi, King (Ulloa 84), Mahrez, Okazaki (Slimani 73), Albrighton, Vardy.
Substitutes: Hamer, James, Fuchs, Benalouane.

Referee: C Kavanagh. Attendance: 20,308.

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Maguire’s late leveller stuns Man United

Leicester City 2:2 Manchester United

Leicester City v Manchester United - Premier League

Jamie Vardy’s 50th Premier League goal, and a last gasp equaliser from Harry Maguire earned ten-man Leicester a point against Manchester United at the KPS on Saturday night…

Claude Puel made one change to his his last Premier League line-up with Fuchs in for Chilwell, and City had some defending to do as United probed for an opening in the early stages. Within the opening couple of minutes, Lingard and Mata had shots blocked before an unmarked Smalling sent a header over from close in.
Lingard then fired in a shot that took a touch off Maguire, and Schmeichel did well to react to the change of flight and touch it over.

Leicester City v Manchester United - Premier League

Schmeichel then had to be alert to save a well struck 18 yarder from Pogba as the United pressure continued.
Martial beat Simpson down the left and crossed, but Lukaku’s attempted over-head kick went all wrong.
But all United’s early domination came to nought when City took a 27th minute lead with a superbly worked counter.
A well-judged 50 yard pass from Ndidi sent Mahrez racing forward, he let the ball bounce over his head and then, faced with Smalling, he then simply waited a few seconds before teeing up Vardy who had raced forward ahead of the defenders and he slotted his 50th Premier League goal past de Gea.
This lead for City appeared to rattle United. Pogba sent a long range shot a mile over the bar, and Lindelof was booked for a nasty challenge on Iborra.
City looked comfortable for a while, defending well and always poised to strike with a counter attack, but they couldn’t hold on to their lead until the break.
In the 39th minute Martial’s cross from the left took a deflection off Simpson and fell to Lingard who laid it back to Mata, who sent a precise shot through a crowded area into the bottom right hand corner.

Leicester City v Manchester United - Premier League

City should have regained the lead a minute before the break when Albrighton delivered a cross from the right to the far post, but an unmarked Maguire took a heavy touch instead of attempting a first time shot and the chance was gone.

City began the second half well, with Mahrez back to his best. Matic earned a yellow card for a tug on the Algerian after he had ghosted round him, and then Mahrez roasted Young down the right before delivering a penetrating low cross. It reached Fuchs at the far post but he opted to blast rather than place, and his shot hit Lindelof.
Bu things started to go wrong for City in the 57th minute. Simpson had to limp out of the action, replaced by Armartey, and then United took the lead on the hour.
There was an air on tension as Mata lined up a free-kick on the edge of the area, and although it was brilliantly struck there were questions raised by Schmeichel’s efforts to save in what appears to be his Achilles’ heel as it flew into the net.

Leicester City v Manchester United - Premier League

Claude Puel brought Okazaki on for Iborra in the 65th minute and roles were now reversed with City pressing forward, but prone to the swift counter attack.
United should have sealed the game in the 71st minute when Lukaku sent Lingard through, and he rounded Schmeichel before sending his shot against the post.
Amartey’s unhappy 17 minute cameo then came to an end as he picked up a second yellow card for a needless foul on Rashford, and City now faced an uphill task.
Another United break saw Pogba send Rashford in with only Schmeichel in front of him,  but the City keeper got a fingertip to the ball before Rashford was upended, and Jon Moss made his best decision of the night.
In the 84th minute the inconsistent Moss racked up the wrath of the home fans further when Smalling used Maguire as a stepladder as they contested a high ball into the box, for as obvious a penalty as you could hope to see.
Smalling then picked up an injury as the clock ticked down and with no more subs United tried to reorganise their defence.
Smalling was returning to the pitch after some treatment when City delighted their fans with an equaliser in the 4th minute of time-added-on. Albrighton’s superb swinging cross to the far post saw Smalling leaving Maguire free and he presented the home crowd with a huge Christmas present with a neat finish.

Leicester City v Manchester United - Premier League

City had narrowly avoided three home defeats in a week, with a display of huge character and a little luck.

Claude Puel was delighted with the result: “With a positive attitude we stayed in the game and continued to believe in ourselves. It was difficult but with our positive attitude we stayed in the game and believed in ourselves. It’s a good result for all of us because the belief keeps going. It’s fantastic for the future.”

Harry Christmas everyone…

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, (Amartey 57), Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Ndidi, Iborra (Okazaki 67), Mahrez, Gray (Chilwell 80), Albrighton, Vardy. Substitutes: King, Hamer, Dragovic, Slimani.
Man Utd: de Gea, Lindelöf, Smalling, Jones, Young, Pogba, Matic, Mata (Mkhitaryan 83), Lingard (Herrera 76), Martial (Rashford 71), Lukaku.
Substitutes: Rojo, Ibrahimovic, RomeroShaw.
Referee: J Moss. Attendance: 32,202.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

 

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